The Healing Power of Botanical Medicine
Botanical medicine, sometimes referred to as herbal medicine, has been around for centuries and has the ability to treat a wide range of health issues, ailments, and injuries. Botanical medicine often gets a bad rap in the news because it is unregulated by the FDA but, at Health for Life, we are not talking about patients going to their local health store and buying an armful of supplements that they researched on the internet without consulting a naturopath. For botanical medicine to be safe and effective, it should be under the supervision of a naturopath that is trained in herbal remedies and knows how to effectively use the power of botanicals in a specific and targeted way for holistic health.
The Power of Plants
Make no mistake, botanical medicine can be very powerful and so it should not be dismissed as simply a ‘safe alternative’ to pharmaceuticals and taken without any caution. Botanical medicine is used in both traditional herbal formulations as well as phytomedicines (scientifically researched and formulated). There is much research happening, particularly in Europe and Asia, which demonstrates that there are many plant substances that are superior to synthetic drugs (pharmaceuticals) in clinical situations.
Why Naturopaths Use Botanical Medicine
Synthetic pharmaceutical drugs are often overprescribed and simply mask symptoms rather than treating the whole body and dealing with the root of the issue. The Institute for Natural Medicine elaborates on why and how botanical medicine is used in naturopathy and why it should be under the supervision of a trained naturopath, “Many conventional pharmaceutical drugs are derived from plants. Modern botanical medicine combines evidence-based science along with centuries-old experience to provide safe and effective treatments that support the body’s ability to heal. Botanical medicine expands treatment options for patients. Alone or in combination with other naturopathic treatments, botanical medicine can be a safe, appropriate, and effective choice for addressing numerous health concerns ranging from frequent illness to gastrointestinal discomfort to depression, and more…naturopathic doctors learn how to choose and effectively prescribe herbal medicines to treat the underlying cause(s) of illness, minimize side effects and drug interactions, and individualize doses and formulations for the maximum therapeutic benefit.”
Botanical medicine has been used for centuries as a standalone treatment and/or as a complementary treatment with other naturopathic treatments that aim to holistically heal a patient’s body. Botanical remedies come in many forms depending on your specific concerns but they can be in pill, powder, or tincture form. Additionally, they can take the form of tea, body lotions or creams, and more! As mentioned, botanical supplements are not regulated by the FDA so it is important to know the source of your herbal remedies and work with a naturopath to ensure proper dosage and other potential interaction safety.